Peter Lloyd responds to Esther Walker’s toxic and chauvinistic admission that she doesn’t want to give birth to a little boy.
Esther Walker – wife of celebrity food critic Giles Coren – wrote a lacerating opinion piece about her casual sexism towards men and boys.
The article, which no doubt delighted the likes of Harriet Harman and Suzanne Moore, garnered more than 1,400 reader comments and sparked global offence (from both genders) after it poured vitriol on her unborn child for possibly being male.
‘I can only deal with one man in my life…?and sometimes that’s one too many,’ she spewed, probably over some middle class macaroons or an elderflower torte.
‘I know very little about boys, but what I have seen I really haven’t liked. Boys are gross; they attack their siblings with sticks, are obsessed with toilets, casually murder local wildlife and turn into disgusting teenage boys and then boring, selfish men.’
She then said she would ‘die’ if her baby was born male, claimed that she was ‘deeply, deeply suspicious of little boys,’ before describing them as the ‘dreaded gender’.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call a bigot in a bra. And, in my opinion, she’s a disgrace.
As a men’s issues writer, and an activist for greater compassion around male-specific problems – including father’s rights, the 90 per cent of homeless people who are men and our soaring suicide rates – this baby bias is no different.
In fact, it might be worse – because here we’ve reached a new low in the socially acceptable hatred of men and defenceless boys.
Yes, perhaps Mrs Giles Coren thought she was being a cutesy version of Caitlin Moran or a maternal manifestation of the fictional Carrie Bradshaw – after all, many people believe women can’t ever be sexist. But, whatever her motivation, she’s wrong.
Her opinions are a towering, crass example of misandry (the male equivalent of misogyny) which is so embedded in our societies, schools, music charts, television programmes and newspapers that it frequently goes unnoticed.
Often by the people voicing it.
Here we have a relatively intelligent woman, with a loving husband and daughter, who thinks nothing about publicly outing herself as a female chauvinist. What was she thinking? I can only assume she is sleepwalking through the issue of female-on-male sexism.
Besides, wasn’t it a man who got her pregnant in the first place? And what’s going to happen when her son grows up and Googles his mum?
As someone who isn’t sexist (I worked on a feminist magazine for three years) and have a father who is the best man I know, I find her comments particularly cringeworthy.
Not least because I have a remarkable nephew who, like his big sister and their female cousin, is a delight – a person I’m infinitely proud of. Someone I will defend to the hilt against toxic opinions like these.
Like all the boys I know, my nephew is a loving, caring, intelligent, funny and innocent person. But wider society will rarely tell him this. In fact, outside his family circle, he will be told he’s clumsy, bashful, emotionally stunted and brutish.
As he gets older he’ll be told he’s developing much slower than girls; a low achiever in the making.
Unfortunately, this is only the basics. The entire system is at risk of letting him down: schools across the western world are failing boys because curriculums are so heavily feminised, women are earning more money than men per hour and also living longer.
Most university graduates are women, they benefit from better NHS funding and frequently enjoy legal leniency over the same crimes. Still not convinced?
One in six victims of domestic violence are male – but are ignored – and many male victims of female-on-male sexual assault are laughed at.
Society is happy to trash males or see them fail because, in an eagerness to ‘get’ feminism – even the radicalised, extremist strands – male success is now misconstrued as gender advantage, not hard work or a human right to thrive.
Because of this, boys lagging at life is regarded as progress, which – ironically – undermines everything equity feminism stands for. What a mess.
These tragic facts, combined with the sweeping, irresponsible statements of Esther Walker, are the grassroots to sealing a boy’s social fate before he’s even born. After all, they’re made of slugs, snails and puppy-dogs’ tails – right?
I, for one, won’t take it lying down. I’m about to launch a legal battle with my gym, the Kentish Town Sports Centre, because it bans all males – including young boys and pensioners – for several hours every week to make it a ‘safe’ area.
The fact that women are not in danger for the rest of the time is an aside; it’s a sexism which reinforces that myth that men are born in a dormant state of ‘wrongness’ and must be controlled. We’re not.
Naturally, I hope I win – not just for the brotherhood, but because it will increase the likelihood of me sharing my opinions with Esther and her husband face-to-face.
No, we don’t know each other, but we do live a few streets away from each other in North London. Perhaps, after an impromptu chat on the treadmills, she would exercise her brain as well as her body.
Then, in 25 years time, when their son leaves home with an intelligent, balanced wife, Esther will have every reason to be very, very proud of her son – not least because he was smart enough to choose a woman who’s nothing like her.
Now that’s a clever boy.
This article originally appeared in Mail Online, and was reposted here with permission from Mr. Lloyd.